Another good example of where flexibility can provide a good dangerous-game experience is with elephant hunting. Elephants can be extremely dangerous to humans. They can be ill-tempered and they will hold a grudge, often charging on first sight or scent. Every year they kill a lot of people, including hunters.
Few survive an attack from the largest land mammal simply because it is so big and powerful. Elephants are creative about how they make you dead. They will crush you with their forehead, rip you apart like a loaf of French bread, impale you with a tusk as big around as a man’s thigh or stomp you into a bloody, muddy pulp.
Hunting is done at close range and often in thick brush. A big bull can weigh more than 6 tons, so there is no rifle on earth that will feel like it’s too big when he is staring you down at 20 yards.
Sometimes you can find a “problem” elephant, one that has been raiding crops or harassing the locals. If the timing is right you may be able to get a permit to hunt that specific elephant for a much lower price. But this is a hit-or-miss proposition. If you can find one and the timing works, it might be the deal of a lifetime. Once again, working with a good agent and being very flexible can make this happen.
Consider a "Cull" Hunt
These are “cull” hunts so you cannot keep any part of the elephant, and you are not allowed to take anything home except photos. But you can keep the memories, which might well be outstanding. Besides, shipping trophies home is extremely expensive, as is taxidermy work, so you save the cost of all that.
Most PHs I know consider hunting tuskless elephants to be among the most dangerous of all big-game hunting. First off, they are almost exclusively cows (although mine was a bull). Generally the bulls are docile, well-tempered critters but the cows are the most dangerous—they’re mean, vicious and in a perpetual state of awareness. They’re the worst. Like the little guy who is trying to make up for being small, the tuskless elephants seem like they are always spoiling for a fight.
While the big trophy bulls are loners or travel in a small groups, the tuskless elephants will be with the herds. The herds are primarily made up of cows and youngsters. You will be required to sneak around all those elephant eyes, ears and long smellers while trying to find a tuskless elephant to shoot. So the end result is that hunting one is probably going to be one of the most adrenaline-filled experiences of your life.
My hunt was all of that. One morning we were chased by a bunch of elephants and barely avoided the need to shoot our way out of trouble. When we reached a clearing and stopped to shoot, we spooked some other elephants. We stopped moving just as they started, and the herd that was intent on stomping us flat mistook their noise for us and went after the other elephants. We slipped out of there as fast and as quietly as we could.
Later, the elephant I shot charged from just 12 yards. My first shot missed the brain and as with the buffalo, it got noisy. After it was over, the tracker pointed at the full auto FNH FAL the game scout carried while he looked at my bolt-action and said, “Your gun shoot faster than his gun!” I guess all that practice paid off.
The great part is that the trophy fees for a tuskless hunt will run about $3,000 to $4,000. That’s a fraction of the trophy fee for a bull elephant. You get everything except the ivory tusks. In fact, you will probably get a more exciting hunting experience than you would with a big bull elephant.
Make it Happen